tv News Nation MSNBC May 16, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
tornado systems for saving hundreds of lives. meanwhile habitat for humanity said all of the homes it built in the town of granbury were destroyed by the twisters. gabe gutierrez is in hood county, texas, with the latest on the emergency response. what is the update on those still missing? >> reporter: tamron, good afternoon. as you mentioned, seven people still unaccounted for. that number is down from earlier this morning when there were 14 unaccounted for. the local sheriff said several people were found with family and friends and that is what he hoped happened with the seven people still missing. the death toll remains at six people. total devastation here. we've been moved back from the worst part of the damage because of that search effort and the clean-up effort that is right now underway. as you mentioned, that neighborhood that was devastated here was built largely by habitat for humanity. and crews are still going through the rubble, trying to find anybody that still may be
missing. the national weather service is, its initial estimate is that this tornado in granbury was between 166 and 200 miles per hour. as we walk around here, we can see the winds just, not just ripped homes off their foundation but left concrete slabs where homes used to stand. we see these tornadoes. ef-1's, ef-2's, and other areas where we've seen mobile homes suffer an credible amounts of damage but these homes were just lifted. people here are suffering a great deal. >> what are the, what is the emergency shelter situation like for those who are homeless right now? >> the red cross is here as they are during these types of disasters. there are dozens of people, more than 100 people in this area that are in emergency shelters and it wasn't just granbury that was affected. there were two other texas. in cleburne, no deaths were reported there.
right now residents are picking up the pieces. they're staying with family members and friends and the search continues for the seven people that are still unaccounted for. the official death toll stands at six right now. >> thank you very much. for more on the texas tornadoes, let's check in with paul goodloe. i was talking with my mother. it was the early warning that saved lives. i believe they had about 14 minutes of heads up time to get into shelter places there. >> [ inaudible ]. >> it looks like we've lost our connection with paul. the bottom line as it stands, several people still missing. you heard gabe gutierrez. we do have paul. what is the latest you can tell us? i know we're expecting more severe weather.
>> this is the recap from last night. about 40 miles south of ft. worth, 70 miles from dallas. early warning really saved a lot of people. bad news and good news this year. the bad news is we're in may and may is the peak of the severe season. the tornado season across the u.s. the good news is back since march, we've been well below average. this year is in the red. the average is in the black. march was 83% below average. april close to 70%. so far this month of may, 61% below average. but again, like snow in winter go hand and hand, so do severe weather and tornadoes this time of year. right now the storms are well to the east of dallas. things are quieting down right now. a couple other areas we're watching for. the thunderstorms can't rule out tornadoes. the ohio valley into the mid-atlantic, d.c., talking about you and back toward the plains. our next chance of perhaps a severe weather outbreak would be as we head toward the weekend. saturday looking at a huge area
in the plains from west of dallas and ft. worth, all the way toward south dakota. talking about severe thunderstorms. even the risk of tornadoes. on saturday. and then these storms and the conditions slowly pushed eastward on sunday. so once again, now kansas city in this red zone for severe weather, including tornadoes. up toward des moines and then back toward the dallas ft. worth area. it could be ooth severe outbreak toward saturday and sunday. and there's a chance that these storms could hold together and we could see storms pushing eastward. maybe even st. louis and maybe even chicago and maybe even little rock as we head toward monday. i would not call last night a severe weather outbreak. it was severe weather episode. but we could be at it again for the weekend. >> how is this tornado season measuring up to others as far as the frequency of tornadoes? >> it is really, really mild. the sad thing is, we do have a damaged like last night, six people losing their lives. the devastation that gabe was
showing us, tremendous and impressive damage and we have short term memory. we think this is a very active year. it is a very quiet year. all it takes is one tornado where you live. >> thank you. greatly appreciate it. moving on, within the last hour the president said he is willing to work with lawmakers on investigating the irs. this afternoon, the president talked more about the controversies in a news conference he held with the turkish prime minister in the arraigny rose garden after announcing the resignation. today the president said the government needs to prevent something like this from ever happening again. >> i'm looking forward to working with congress to fully investigate what happened. make sure it doesn't happen again and also, look at some of the laws that create a bunch of ambiguity in which the irs may not have enough guidance and not
be clear about what exactly they need to be doing and doing it right so that the american people have confidence that the tax laws are being applied fairly and evenly. >> in another development, nbc news confirms the president plans to appoint a new acting irs commissioner this week. let me bring in our "news nation" political panel. talk show host michael smerconish, washington bureau chief for the "chicago sun time times", lynn sweet, and michael tomasky. thank you for joining me. lynn, let me start with you. the president is attempting to put a lid on these scandals. let's talk about the wirs the president not only saying he is ready to work with congress to make sure this doesn't happen. he wants to look at the laws so there is no ambiguity. and he is moving on to appoint a new acting irs commissioner. a 1-2-3 punch if you will. >> and it won't dampen the hill's enthusiasm for digging
deeper into. this obama said it is not for any outside counsel being investigated. that the system is set up just fine for investigations. there will be at least three, maybe four congressional hearings in the coming days. the test will be, will all the witnesses the republicans want be allowed by the obama white house to come to the hill. >> to your point, whether or not it will stop any of the objections from republicans, i want to play a mash-up if you will of some of the things republicans said today regarding what they want more from this irs investigation. let's play it. >> this house will stop at nothing to get to the american people the answers and the accountability that they expect. we need to know where the facts are. somebody made a decision to do this. and i doubt that there was low level employees in the field office. >> the republican members of the finance committee are sending a letter to the treasury's inspector general for tax administration, requesting investigation into this very issue.
>> i think the resignation is appropriate. i called for that on monday. it is just the beginning. it is not nearly enough. i think there should be prosecutions of individuals responsible in abusing their power. >> michael smerconish. you had the tea party as well with ted cruz, for example. he said when citizens fear the government there is tyranny. so that was also going on. the bottom line is pundits believe this irs situation is the most difficult for the president. with benghazi as it was reported, some people don't even know where it is on the map. with the a.p., very little sympathy from average folks for the media. here you have the irs and folks believing this could happen to them. >> lynn sweet is absolutely correct. the effort by the white house to put a lid on this will be unsuccessful. i think that a shortcoming of the president's team, and this marks the entire duration of the administration so far. they've been so great at messaging in campaign season. and then they can't fight out of a wet paper bag while they're in office. they just can't get ahead of
these issues even when the facts are on their side. you look at that document dump on benghazi in those 100 e-mail we see concretely that it was the cia that said remove references to al qaeda. why didn't the white house get that information out sooner? with regard to this incident with the irs, tamron, i won't be surprised if there is a far more benign explanation. that there was a doubling of 501(c)(4) application and therefore somebody in cleveland was overwhelmed. didn't get additional resources and thought this was a shortcut to evaluate those applications. >> if that's the case, they should say it soon. the first thing they did was apologize. and they have since friday. if it is something as to your point of being overwhelmed, since we're always talking about leaks, someone might want to leak that out to try to clear up. right now it doesn't look good. michael tomasky, you have this article out. how to stop a scandal. you said you had already immediately called for the attorney general eric holder's rei go nation as it relates to
the a.p. but you talk about some other things. has the administration started to stop any aspect of these scandals from benghazi, irs to the a.p.? >> i think they're doing okay on two out of three. i think the release of these e-mails, smerconish is correct and i said in that same column that you quoted from. why were not they able to round up these e-mails last december? that would have made a bigger difference then than arguably it is making now. but still it is making a difference now. i think that's a good move. and i think obama made good move yesterday on the irs thing. on the justice department associated press matter, as you say, that's not apparently getting quite as much traction among the public yet. to return to a point that you made a moment ago about the irs situation, i completely agree with you. they should not have apologized. they should have just said that we were overwhelm by applications and we were overwhelm by applications because of a supreme court ruling, citizens united, that
made everybody and their brother come out and decide to be social welfare organizations doing political work. and we were overrun. for the speaker of the house of representatives to say, i doubt this stops in cincinnati, his home town for whatever that's worth. and what is he implying there? that's outrageous. >> unless they can present proof, unless the irs presents proof that somehow liberal organizations were affected as well, this excuse or reason of being overwhelm by all of this flood gate of new times of applications won't sell. >> it won't sell. no. it won't sell. the vast majority of applications were probably, i don't know this for a fact but from things i've read were probably from groups on the right. because that's where the energy was and that's where the political organization was and that's where the grassroots anger was in 2009 and 2010. so those were the people out to form new groups. tea party affiliated groups.
so there are benign explanations for all these things and we don't yet know for a fact that they are the true explanations but they certainly are out there and exist as possibilities and the speaker of the house of representatives should not be trying to ill apply otherwise. >> let me play a little of what the president said. his willingness to work with congress on a key part of this issue that republicans have not addressed. let's play it. >> i'm calling on congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget request to improve embassies around the world. we also need congress to work with us to provide the resources and new authorities so we can fully implement all of the recommendations of the review board. >> and listen, progressives and liberals have been screaming this since the beginning. that the republicans, programs not leading up to the death of
the diplomat. but ignoring the needs financially of the state department. and there the president put that on the table. and again, i can't stress enough how many of these liberal bloggers and progressives have been saying this since the event happened. >> i think you have an unspoken dare at the press conference to republicans to vote for these funding increases. or to somehow try to change, try to pivot from the spotlight on him to the spotlight on funding and looking at the votes for the members that did not support increased funding. some of whom are also the critics of how the obama white house handled benghazi. so a lot was in code here of what obama was saying in trying to shift the spotlight. >> and michael smerconish, you've got a flood gate of e-mail presented for all of us to chew on and discuss. yet the republicans are saying they still want more
information. is this the wheel that will continue to roll? i don't know. when your grandchildren's grandchildren are around, you'll have people saying, what really happened was a cover-up. >> benghazi has become a catchall phrase for those who have always been antagonistic toward this president. one observation. i feel sorry for ambassador rice. you wade through those 100 pages of e-mails and what you don't see are her thumb prints. what you do see is this scrum, this negotiation between the cia, the state department, the fbi, a little from the white house them obviously handed her a hymnal sunday morning. she had no role in casting it and she has paid the most significant price or she would be the secretary of state today. >> which is a what our first read team points out. the down side of that. she does not have a fingerprint or a thumb print as you put it on those talking points, she still went out with them and most believe, the fall guy, if you will here. and she really had nothing to do
with the back and forth. speaking of fall guys, michael tomasky, i want to get your thoughts on what should happen with eric holder here. i want to play the hearing that was quite contentious. let me play it. >> i'm sure there must have been a good reason why only the to and from parts were -- >> yes. you didn't want us to see the details. mr. attorney general -- >> which committee has oversight over your department, correct? >> i didn't show up here because i really wanted to. >> that has been painfully obvious in the way you've anxioused the questions. >> i don't think i've always been treated with a great deal of respect. and it is not even a personal thing. if you don't like me, that's one thing. i am the attorney general of the united states. >> so eric holder is our gut check. we're asking people, if this is his last brouhaha as the first read team put it. should he step down? the president is standing by and reiterated that today in the rose garden. >> i wrote that i thought he should step down earlier in the week. it doesn't matter that he recused himself.
he was the head of this department when a really bad thing happened. it dpenlds on how offended one is by what seems to have happen at the justice department. i think it was pretty bad. i think it is an under the for fresh leadership but i can understand people disagreeing with that. i think that he didn't certainly, let's put it this way. he didn't settle every question. even though republicans were a little gruff with him and a little bit rude. he didn't settle all the questions that are lingering about this. >> all right. thank you. i really appreciate it. coming up, we'll ask if we're witnessing eric holder's last hooray. president obama meeting with defense secretary chuck hagel and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. we will be joined by air force veteran jennifer norris, a sexual assault survivor who appeared at a news conference
today with lawmakers to announce legislation to reform the military justice system. and olympic gold medalist cullen jones will join us live. he is trying to save lives one child at a time by teaching children, especially minority children, to swim. cullen will join us to talk about his mission. but first, new information on the boston bombing case. sources tell nbc news that the younger brother dzhokhar tsarnaev scribbled a note confessing where he was hiding before authorities closed in on him. on a wall he reportedly wrote that his actions were in retaliation for u.s. wars in iraq and afghanistan. he also wrote the boston marathon victims were, quote, collateral damage. and that he does not mourn his older brother who was killed in a shoot-out with police because he is considered a martyr. ny sis does your dog food have? 30? 20? new purina one beyond has 9. the simplified purina one beyond. learn more about these wholesome ingredients at purinaone.com
an islamic militant group is claiming responsibility for a car bomb that killed six americans today in afghanistan. the suicide attack left at least 15 people dead, including afghan civilians and children. more than 30 others were wounded. the group said its fighters stalked the american convoy for a week to learn its routine. the mill tanlts say the attack was in response to the recent agreement to personally keep nine american bases in afghanistan. an hour from now president obama will meet with the nation's top defense leaders including the joint chiefs of staff and defense secretary hagel to address the growing problem, the growing crisis of sexual assaults in the military. the meeting comes a day after general martin dempsey, the children of the joint chiefs said the military is facing a crisis of sexual assaults and that women in uniform are losing confidence the problem will be solved. this morning, new york senator was joined by victim of sexual
assaults as she introduced a bipartisan bill that would prevent military commanders from handling sexual assault cases that involve their subordinates. >> when we take these cases outside of the chain of command, we give the victim the basic confidence to know that justice will be had and that there will be accountability and transparency in their case. that's how we will be able to achieve the reform that we think is needed that will ensure justice and fairness for every victim. >> former u.s. air force technical sergeant jennifer norris was at that news conference this morning. she is a military rape survivor and an advocate for other victim of sexual assault. thank you so much for your time today. thank you for your service for this country. jennifer, let me start off with the remarks made by dempsey where he says it is a crisis i and that women in uniform are losing confidence. have women lost the confidence in what's happened in the last two weeks with people who were supposed to be those training for sexual assault now accused of the horrible crimes
themselves. >> women lost their confidence a long, long time ago. hence the reason of today's introduction of senator jill brand's bill was so touching to me. it is the first piece of legislation that has real substance to it to give us that confidence back. >> i think a lot of people still find it, i don't know if the word is stunning or baffled by the fact that commanders can handle the sexual assault cases that involve their subordinates. as you pointed out, this bipartisan legislation would address that. what is the reason in your heart you believe there has been these delays that could help? >> there are a couple things. i think that they think in terms of war. so there's a difference between, you know, in garrison, here in the states, and overseas. and i think what they really don't want to lose control of is
the power that they need to have with the troops when they're overseas. so that's going to be an issue that we're going to have to address. because what are we going to do? how will we handle that piece of it? in garrison, as far as sexual assaults are concerned, they should be handled by civilians or professionals that deal with these crimes, you know, on a daily basis and understand how they work and understand the modus operandi and let the commanders do their jobs. i think that once people realize that they won't to have report to their boss any longer, that we'll see the reporting go up. >> lastly, as mentioned a couple hours from now, or an hour from now the president will meet with the nation's top defense leaders. there have been many meetings. preventive actions taken as far as awareness and education. we're still seeing this crisis.
what do you hope will come out of this meeting as far as substance? >> i'm really praying this they make this happen as quickly as possible. not only am i a survivor but i work as a national victim advocate for the military rape crisis center. and we're working with active duty soldiers on a daily basis. if just one of those people could sit in my seat for eight hours and hear the stories that i hear of the brutality, the retaliation, the dismissiveness, recognize that all of these things are actually making what happened to the victim even worse, hence the reason that the ptsd is so bad. it has been compounded by not only a predator but then reporting to someone in your children of command who may or may not believe you. even if they do believe you, may or may not do anything about it. we need to turn somewhere where
we can get real justice from professionals. >> thank you so much for your time today. we greatly appreciate it. i'm sure we'll have an opportunity to speak with you in the future. thank you. >> thank you. coming up, family members of travis alexander. the manned murdered by jodi arias. will they get their chance to see her face to face and say whether she should get the death penalty. we'll get a live report out of phoenix. ♪ i' 'm a hard, hard ♪ worker every day. ♪
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call hearusa at... and start loving life again, today. withyou'll find reviewsve time, on home repair to healthcareon. written by people just like you. you want to be sure the money you're about to spend is money well spent. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. an emotionally charged day in the jodi arias trial. the jury determined she killed her ex-boyfriend travis alexander in an especially cruel manner. right now in the courtroom, her family is about to give their impact statements as prosecutors try to convince the jury that arias deserves to die for her
crime. has travis alexander's family come out one way or the other, at least with the media or publicly on where they stand with this? >> we've heard from his family talking about the kind of impact that this murder has had on their lives before and different need reports but we've never heard them talk about where they stand on the death sentence. that will be very interesting today. i can tell you, it will be one of the toughest days they've had in court and that's saying a lot considering what we've seen over the last four months. i was told that sister samantha was sobbing outside the courtroom, having a tough time even getting inside that courtroom. that gives you an idea of what kind of wrenching testimony we'll hear about the impact of losing travis has had on their lives. the woman convicted of murdering him will be right there front and center listening to them talk about the impact that losing travis has had. and that jury will be listening to this. and they're the ones deciding once and for all whether jodi arias will get the death sentence. i just want to point out that
the defense attorneys have said they want to paint a different picture of jodi arias from the one they talked about in the courtroom. they're planning to have one of her ex-boyfriends come to the stand and talk about her character. and they're going to present some of her artwork to show the artistic sensitive side of jodi arias. we'll to have wait and see. it sounds like it will be very compelling. >> you see the demeanor of jodi arias right now as this phase of the trial continues and they will hear the victim impact statements. coming up, will firing the irs commissioner help keep a bad week from becoming a bad month for the obama administration? what our first read team says. it all depends on the follow-through. plus, a nasa telescope where hundreds of millions of dollars suffered a major failure during the search for other planets. is the mission truly over? own tr was a record collection. no. there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda. [ both ] ugh! when it came to our plants... we were so confused. how much is too much water?
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more on the obama administration's efforts to confront three major controversies it is facing. our first read team reports, will yesterday's actions keep a bad week from turning into a bad month? the answer, it depends on the follow-through. especially as it relates to the irs issue which has always been the most problematic controversy for the white house because it is the easiest one for the public to understand. domenico montero, we've seen this. are they getting ahead of this? >> they've finally gotten to the point where they've done something about it. of course, the president waited for that i.g. report to figure out what he was going to do about the irs. relieving the acting commissioner of his duties, essentially. and now we're going to see what else is going to happen within the irs. certainly members of congress, of course, republicans not going to be satisfied with just that. many questions that the republican national committee is
putting out as well as others. this is obviously like we said, a scandal that is something, people are, it's easy for people to understand. there's no tie yet that we've seen to the obama white house. and i think that's an important distinction when some people have tried to say, this is nixonian or whatever. it is very different than what richard nixon was caught on tape having people target his political enemies. >> you say, point to the number you have in your first read. that the house is voting to repeal obama care. the house has now held its 38th vote to repeal the law. and you go on to point out, this will be at least the 43rd day since republicans took over the house that they've devoted time to voting on the issues. you say no less than 15% of the house floor on repeal in some way. you know the president's supporters and others will put this in the same pot, benghazi, the irs, the president saying he
is willing to work with congress. will that ever satisfy some members of the house, into this pot, whatever they can attempt to stick on this administration, they will, including the am of time still spent on obamacare. >> unquestionably. health care, for example, is two separate lanes, i think we can think of it as. republicans want a message against this as the october 1 enrollment period starts. on the other side, the white house and health and human services have to make sure it is implemented properly so that people who are uninsured and fit in that narrow window of folks who don't qualify for medicaid, but don't have health insurance otherwise, can qualify, get enrolled in those exchanges. things go smoothly. you're going to have a mentioning machine that will completely try to undermine that process as it happens. the white house and health and human services will have to be outfront. i expect we'll see some psas,
some public service announcements trying to make the understandable for folks. you are going to have republicans try to continue to repeal at least parts of the health care law because it is good with their base. they don't believe that this is the right thing for the country. that it will have an affect on small businesses. and it is going to be extra paperwork for them, obviously. and that is where they're trying to push this line right now. >> you bring up the point of one of the issues, good with the base. that's how some perceive benghazi, for example, that it is good with the republican base. and it would be an ongoing, perhaps not a 38th vote on the house floor as with health care. but an ongoing continued story line. >> well, look, we've written that there is about a third of the house committees that are right now investigating the obama administration. and that is a big reason why there is going to be some difficulty for the white house in trying to get in front of this stuff. and i think the bigger issue
here is what does it do to the second term agenda? immigration reform is the big thing that the president wants to get done. really was the big thing coming in. aside from taxes after his election. and while that is moving along pretty normally, because you have about half the republican party that wants to get that done. there is a potential problem with that. because you know, while talk radio may be talking about irs and benghazi, there is going to be a section that says, look, we can't trust them to implement health care. we can't trust them to implement border security if they can't even run the irs. that's a talking point i think we'll hear a lot of. >> coming up, an update on the search for the seven people still right now missing after tornadoes ripped through parts of north texas. we're also following developing news in another disaster in texas. officials will release their report on last month's fertilizer plant explosion. we'll get an update on what it reveal. plus, olympic gold medalist
cullen jones joins us to talk about his mission to save children's lives by teaching them to swim. first, there is a lot going on. here are some things we thought you should know. the nomination for the president's pick to head the labor department is headed to the full senate. the nomination has drawn intense opposition from republicans. he currently heads up the justice department's civil rights division. and several reports today. congressman anthony. he has hired a campaign manager for a possible run for mayor. weiner has hired a press secretary. those are the things we thought you should know. expenses whil, he can focus on his recovery. he doesn't have to worry so much about his mortgage, groceries, or even gas bills. kick! kick... feel it! feel it! feel it! nice work! ♪
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man: the charcoal went out already? ... forget it. vo: there's more barbeque time in every bag of kingsford original charcoal. kingsford. slow down and grill. we continue to monitor that developing story in north texas. the search continue for seven people still accounted for in several small communities.
about 40 miles south of ft. worth. at least six people have been confirmed killed. the national weather service announced one of the twisters was a mile wide with winds up to 200 miles per hour. the red cross is now on the scene providing temporary shelter to hundreds of displaced people right now. developing also out of texas interesting dallas morning news the reporting new details on the other disaster we've been so much about. the newspaper reports, investigators are not settled on a cause of last month's deadly fire and explosion at that fertilizer plant in the town of west. nor have they ruled out criminal activity. 15 people were killed in that explosion. about 200 others were injured. the investigators are scheduled to officially announce their findings in about two hours from now. dallas reporter randy joins us live. you've been reporting on this certainly, officials have identified what they called three possible causes here. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's correct.
it could be a criminal act although no one has been charged in this and it is important to remember the gentleman who was charged previously was possessing an explosive device has not been charged in the explosion in any way. it could also be an electrical problem within the warehouse that burned. that warehouse contained the fertilize per later exploded. or it could be, oddly enough, a golf cart. >> and would all of those three things out there, we'll learn more details. but a part of this, whatever the conclusion is, a part of the investigation and certainly some of the questions raised in the dallas morning news regarding the regulations and inspections of the plant itself that no matter what come out as the actual cause, there are still some great concerns about the proximity of that fertilizer plant and some of the issues regarding storage and the possible danger and explosions that were said to not happen or not be a possibility but certainly we saw what happened. >> reporter: that's correct. the issue of what happened after
the explosion is interesting enough, certainly in terms of what kind of emergency response took place. more important in my view is what happened before the fire. were there preventive measures in place. sprinkler in the warehouse. sprinkler inspections that might have prevented it that could have been fixed for little or no money. it is clear to us that did not happen. that to me is the real implications of the danger of this in the community. >> do you believe and that line of questioning will be followed obviously when this investigation, some of the conclusions are released today? it is easy to get distracted. for instance, if it turns into a criminal investigation, if someone did something to cause it and forget the other issues that existed at that plant before the explosion. >> that's right. it remains to be seen whether there is going to be a serious follow-up to those preventive measures that were not taken in this case.
that to me is the prime area of focus. we've got to make sure that other communities that may have a similar kind of risk facing them have what they need to prevent these things before they happen. >> randy with the dallas morning news. thank you for your time. we should hear more from officials in a couple of hours from now on their report. thank you. >> thank you. a second suspect arrested today in sunday's shooting at a mother's day parade in new orleans. that tops our look at stories around the nation. the second suspect is the older brother, the 19-year-old, who was arrested last night. authorities believed the brothers work together in the shooting. both face 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder. one for each of those wounded. nasa's $600 million planet hunting space probe, it is in trouble despite the price tag. nasa says a part that ames the spacecraft has stopped working.
the telescope on board has identified 132 planets beyond our solar system since being launched in 2009. the spacecraft was designed to operate for up to six years. and get ready for a new outbreak of powerball fever. after there was no winner in last night's powerball drawing, the jackpot for saturday's drawing has soared to $550 million. that is the third largest jackpot ever. coming up, saving lives. olympic gold medalist cullen jones will join us to talk about his mission to teach kids to swim. i will answer your question after whether or not i after a year pledging that i would learn to swim, if i've had any success. first big news from arguably the world's most famous soccer player and perhaps the most handsome in the world. david beckham said he is retiring at the end of the season. he is one of very few english players who successfully played
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were memorial day, the start of summer is a week away. a reminder of dangers for children if they don't know how to swim. learning to swim is obviously critical for all kids but especially for minority children. 70% of african-american children and 60% of latino children have little or no swimming skills. just a tiny fraction, 13% ever go on to learn to swim as adults. olympic swimmer cullen jones is on a mission to help children overcome their fears and learn to swim. he's been doing this since 2009. and cullen is with us now.
he is an ambassador for usa swimming's make a splash program. good to see you. we first talked about this on rock center. a part of your passion as a kid growing up in this area, you almost drounld. >> yes. i was just like any other spoiled only child. and going to an amusement park with my parents was exciting for me. i went down the ride with my parents, fully supervised which is so important to the story. is that i was supervised. i wasn't fooling around. i went under, filmed upside down. it only a takes about 20 seconds to drown. i was under for nearly 30. they had to resuscitate me. >> and your mom decided not to lose you. she put you, your mom is your right hand, she put you in swimming. >> instantly. the next week. i would hate to be my dad it was. my dad's idea to put me on the ride. she got into swimming and i was timid to get back into it. i was nervous.
i had almost drowned. after three different teachers, i stuck with it and learned. >> you're making a difference by teaching kids to swim. and one of the difficulties is that parents certainly know that swimming can save lives. but they are afraid. a lot of people have, there are these stereo types that black people can't learn to swim or you don't have the money. it is not economics. it is not ethnicity. it is simply having the courage to put your kid in something that may intimidate you as a parent. >> absolutely. i've been working with the make a splash initiative since 2009. they have kind of put their money where their mouth is by helping kids all over the u.s. learn to swim. we have, we're in every state now. we have over 600 different local partners. you can get your kids water safe. and with that, we also did a study with university of memphis. and you're right. the number one thing that trumps is not the economic cost of it. it is actually the fear. so we need to get over that. that's something, our kids are
drowning. we need to fix that. swimming lessons are the way. >> i have a confession. so part of our rock center piece, couplen spent the day with me. we got in the water. and you worked on my fear of swimming with me. and i made a pledge which was almost a year ago that i would learn to conquer my fear of swimming. i started crying in that pool. and i am embarrassed to say but i won't lie. i have not learned to swim. >> it is nothing to be embarrassed about. >> it is something that you have to be comfortable with your teacher. >> i tried a couple times cynic we worked together. and i failed. and i am a super competitive person. anybody who knows me will tell you that. so what i've decided is that i have a vacation coming up, one week off. i'm going to turn it into a staycation. my executive producer will hold me to this. i will put video on our tumbler page, our facebook page of me
swimming by june 3rd. >> that's awesome. >> he said what? i am going to do it. one of the other issues with young black girls is that they worry about their hair. we have curly hair in many cases and the hair issue was something the girls brought up. so for black girls, who might be worried about their hair, mine is going curly. i will be in the water. i get anxiety in the water. but june 2nd, can i pleng to the fifth? i'm kidding. >> second. got it. >> i'm going to do it for you. you're a great man. he brought his gold medal with him. there you go. and he promises no reality shows. >> no reality shows. >> my best friend but not for me. >> thank you. you're saving lives. and i am going to get this done and i'm going to post it for make a splash. that does it for this edition of "news nation." soon to be the tamron hall who swims. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures you may not know
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right now on "the cycle," damage control. the president fires back on benghazi, the irs and the a.p. with the first of many congressional hearings on tap for tomorrow, at least one of these issues is far from over. >> the house is voting for a mere 38th time to appeal obamacare. >> i'm s.e. cupp. one of the priorities had been immigration. today in the guest spot, a reform advocate who claim even the toughest bill in congress won't get job done. >> i'm toure. two tabloid cases captivating america. o.j. simpson is hoping for the luck of the draw in sin city and jodi arias is feeling the heat in desert country. we'll be live outside both court rooms. >> plus, the real scandal in washington this week. the president is addressing it this hour and so am i. right now on "the cycle."